Hot may day, Cameron Winklevoss decides to quench his thirst — he needs a big dose of iced coffee from Starbucks, plus “a little cream, just to taste.” Along with twin brother Tyler and a small entourage following behind him, six-foot Cameron sharply rising from behind a huge Desk in a luxurious office created by the brothers of Gemini crypto currency exchange in new York and goes to the glass door in the glass wall sparkling of the room.
During a two-minute walk at a quick pace through the fashion district Gramercy Cameron walks past the two gyms and finally enters the Starbucks on the corner of Park Avenue South and 23rd street. Passing by a display of sweets, he approaches the counter, where the bundles of ripe bananas and Starbucks branded chewing gum without sugar sandwiched infrared scanner Honeywell.
While from the speakers is posted Rihanna song Work, Cameron eating a small portion of the coffee and pulls out his phone. It opens a beta version of a new application Spedn developed by a little-known payment startup Flexa and wave the QR code in front of a scanner to pay for the drink cryptocurrency, which he and his brother created based on the Ethereum blockchain.
In some parts of the world that now occurred, would be considered a historic event. As a proud father, the Winklevoss turns around and smiles. “We finally realized the prospects for payment in bitcoin, says Cameron. It took a lot of time, but as you can see, we have come to this. It is an absolute win for sellers. The transaction was in fact free.”
The problem is that Starbucks and numerous large companies that now accept payments in bitcoin don’t seem willing to tell what they are doing. One of the women who accompanied the brothers Winklevoss, Cameron advises to cover with a finger the Starbucks logo for photography. “They do not participate in the first ad,” she recalls Cameron.
Over the next few days, any Gemini, which is engaged in the storage of cryptocurrency, no Flexa, a company that developed the app, was unable to convince anyone of its customers in writing to confirm the information on participation in product testing, not to mention the fact to convince them to talk with reporters. However, everything points to the fact that today some of the largest and best-known companies in the world accept bitcoin, ether, litecoin, bitcoin cache, zcash for Gemini and Dollar (GUSD), is a cryptocurrency tied to real US dollars that are stored on your account in State Street, and based on the blockchain-Ethereum platform.
Checks received by Forbes from a few hundred beta testers of the application, confirmed that cryptococci occurred at Game Stop, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Whole Foods. The project also involves bookstores Barnes & Noble, a chain of stationery Office Depot and Department stores of luxury goods Nordstrom. According Flexa, a total of 89% of the beta users spend the cryptocurrency, at least in one of the places, a list of which was published today, with 81% spent cryptocurrency several times in two or more places.
As reported by Flexa, currently the following companies officially accept the cryptocurrency: Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, Caribou Coffee, Crate and Barrel, Express, GameStop, Jamba Juice, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot & OfficeMax, Petco, Regal Cinemas, Ulta Beauty and Whole Foods Market, owned by Amazon. And of course, Starbucks, although he is not involved in the official launch. It is expected that about one hundred stores will start to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies via the app Spedn up to the end of the year.
“Historically, Scripturally promised a lot and did little, — says the General Director of Gemini, a 37-year-old Tyler Winklevoss. And this is one of the first times when the users are given the option to pay by bitcoin”.
This is a very important event. For the industry, born in anonymity and poverty, created by cryptoanalysts and tested in the flames of black markets in the dark corners of the dark web, this is the beginning of a new era of widespread adoption. But it is worth noting that none of the company itself has not confirmed that it is now accepting bitcoins.
Despite the purchase of Cameron in a Starbucks, it was the only company that responded to our request to comment, and she said that is not working with Gemini or Flexa. One of the reasons may lie in the fact that in August 2018, Starbucks announced a partnership with a competitor, Gemini, crypto currency exchange Bakkt, and that will help the division of the new York stock exchange to convert digital assets into US dollars.
So how do Flexa already allows Cameron Winklevoss to pay for coffee at Starbucks cryptocurrency, and how fifteen more companies doing this? First, users need to download the app from the Apple App Store, and then to forward to him any asset of any cryptocurrency wallet. While Gemini keeps the funds in the crypt, Spedn organizes the payment itself generating disposable QR code on the screen of the phone, which should be attached to the scanner in the store-the project participant to the account of the buyer is debited the appropriate amount. When the buyer receives a receipt where the purchase is reflected as a gift certificate, Spedn holds the payment to the seller in the chosen currency at a later date.
According to the head Flexa Tyler Spalding, a former NASA official and Director at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the advantage for sellers is that they spend only four cents “to process any payment of any size”. Given the fact that the interchange (the fee, which the acquiring Bank the seller pays the Bank that issued the buyer’s card — approx. Forbes) in 2017 ranged from $0.22 to $0,52 depending on transaction volume, Flexa space for maneuver in negotiations, there are many opportunity to earn money remains. In a larger profit Flexa can be huge, as the savings stores. “No matter how much they pay now, we want to reduce this amount,” says Spalding. To understand the scale: according to Nielsen 2017, the Commission payments using credit cards only in the United States amounted to $88,39 billion
Spalding first thought about accepting bitcoin for the final game of the World series in 2016 between the “Cleveland Indians” and his minions “Chicago cubs”. With the final victory of the cubs in the World series it took 106 years, and when 40 million viewers gathered to watch the broadcast of the game, tickets for the match for two worth up to $50,000, and many were worried because of fraud. Born a fan of the cubs, who grew up in Chicago, Spalding with his wife had flown to Cleveland, Ohio to watch the decisive match of the season.
At the time Spalding was the technical Director of a startup Raise, engaged in gift certificates, and was already familiar with alternative payment systems. So when he found the owner of a season ticket who was willing to sell him two tickets with bitcoin at $10,000, he was not surprised. “It was a very large, very risky deal, and the man repeated: “No. No. I need a crypt,“ says Spalding. — It was perfect”. “Chicago cubs” won, and two years later he participated in the founding of Flexa.
Spedn the first app-based Flexa Network, a payment system using Ethereum, like Visa or Mastercard, but for purchases in bitcoin. In order to use the network, Spedn and others must make their own cryptocurrency system, flexamin, as collateral. “Applications must pay a Deposit within the network, and then to spend,” says Spalding.
At the dawn of the history of bitcoin many well-known companies, including CheapAir, Microsoft, Overstock.com, Reddit and Expedia have started to accept the cryptocurrency. OpenBazaar, which was supported venture capital funds, is a online platform that allows its participants to receive payments in multiple cryptocurrencies.
But in 2018, when the price of bitcoin fell from $19 000 to $5 000, Expedia, Reddit, and many other companies stopped accepting cryptocurrency, citing their lack of interest in connection with the volatility of prices. The mantra of the time was the word hodl, hold a distorted (“store”), meaning the refusal to sell or spend bitcoin. The name of the app, Spedn that embody this mantra and is derived from spend (“waste”).
Translation Natalia Balabanchevo
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